It’s been nearly a year since COVID-19 forced apartment communities to change the way they do business to keep residents and employees safe. Since then, holding onto current residents has been more crucial than ever.
What’s the key to resident retention? It’s simple: engagement.
When residents feel connected to their apartment community and invested in relationships they’ve made with staff members and neighbors, they’re more likely to stick around. More importantly, many residents are undoubtedly feeling isolated due to quarantining, so creating a sense of community could help to boost mental health.
It’s not as simple as it sounds, though. Building a community in Multifamily can be a challenge because of its transiency, plus social distancing means that normal apartment community gatherings are off the table.
Luckily, the answer is something most Americans have been devoting so much time to since the pandemic started: social media.
Read on for some ideas on how to use your apartment social media to increase resident engagement and, in turn, make residents happier and your business healthier.
Start at the Beginning
If you’re wondering how to get residents to follow your community on social media, try building it into your new resident onboarding process. Create the expectation that residents will find value in your apartment social media content, and that they’ll miss out if they don’t follow you.
You can use the same enticements to get longer-term residents to follow. Share useful, high-quality content, hold contests, and make special offers available through the community’s social media channels only. Word will spread about the value in following the community, and you should see your follower count rise.
Create a Virtual Community
Let your residents know that your community believes in physical distancing, not social distancing, Use your apartment social media platforms to promote activities meant to bring people together emotionally.
If your community has a TikTok account, you could have contests around popular challenges or trending dances. You could use Facebook Live or Instagram Live for a book club or a cocktail demo and tasting; have a cute pet photo contest; hold a virtual talent show broadcast over social media — the ideas for resident engagement are endless.
Another idea is to create a private apartment community Facebook group just for residents and staff to share announcements and other information not meant for public viewing. A component of that could be a Buy Nothing group just centered around your apartment community. Residents can post items they’re giving away or are in need of, which can make neighbors feel more connected.
Empower Your Best Marketers (Your Residents)
Do you have happy residents who post content that shows your apartment community in the most favorable light? These are your ambassadors. User-generated content (or UGC for short) promotes a brand or business and it’s created independently by customers who genuinely believe in the product or service. UGC is valuable for apartment marketing because it amplifies the voices of residents — which are viewed as more credible than corporate messaging — and it’s also very cost-effective.
Use UGC in your apartment marketing strategy by ensuring that all of your apartment social media platforms have some of this content built into it. Mixing in UGC with your regular apartment social media content can also boost the trustworthiness of your brand messaging. To make sure you’re able to capture your community’s UGC, come up with a hashtag and encourage your residents to use it.
Community Branded Content from Respage uses A.I. to get visually stimulating apartment social media content from your own residents. And it’s all automated, requiring little to no work from your staff. Your residents have the option to be tagged and they will be notified when their posts are up.
A notable trend in Multifamily over the past year is gamification, in which residents can earn virtual points for doing things that support the community and help to make things run more smoothly.
The idea is to assign point values to actions that you want residents to take, like making a referral, posting an apartment review, or creating a social media post about the community. You could also offer points for paying rent online, submitting a service request through the resident portal and other activities that you want to encourage. The virtual points can be used to claim prizes, like gift cards.
Since the pandemic began, social media has been more popular than ever as a way to stay connected while physically apart. This is great news for apartment communities because apartment social media engagement is also a major factor in resident retention. Respage can help you leverage your apartment social media to create a stronger, more successful apartment community. Talk to us and learn how!